5 CV tips for getting into the charity sector

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Your CV.

It is that piece of paper that reflects all that you’ve done in your student/professional life which cumulatively builds your chances of getting hired. Within that one page, you have to show all of the skills you’ve acquired, projects undertaken and state your work history. With most recruiters taking less than 20 seconds to judge a CV, you have a short span of time to create a lasting impression.

Think of it this way. A CV is a great tool to advertise yourself and to convince the recruiters why you’re the best fit for that particular role.

Different fields of work have different expectations from candidates who apply for jobs. If you are applying for a software development job, then you must have the relevant coding and programming skills. If you are applying for a job in sales, then you must have relevant marketing skills. But what exactly must you put in your CV if you are looking to join the charity sector?  Fret not. You have come to the right place. Here are some top skills that are expected of candidates eager to enter the charity sector.

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  • Finance and Services Director - NGO, Charity (Up To £45,000.00 commensurate with experience, Flexible Location)

    NGO, Charity

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    Finance and Services Director - NGO, Charity (Up To £45,000.00 commensurate with experience, Flexible Location)
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    Major Donor Fundraiser - Premier Media Group (Circa £30,000pa (depending on skills and experience), Westminster, London, Greater London)
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    The Community Foundation in Wales

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    Finance Administration Assistant - The Community Foundation in Wales (£17,000 - £19,000 pro rata, Cardiff, Wales)
  1. Importance of soft skills

Although soft skills are needed in every field of work, the importance of soft skills in the charity sector can’t be emphasised enough. Soft skills showcase your communication skills, your ability to work under pressure, leadership skills, time management and many more.

For example, if you have volunteered at the local not-for-profit over the weekends for a few months, then it shows that you have gone out of your way to manage your studies/work on the weekdays and took time off for volunteering activities over the weekend. This shows your ability to take the initiative, to manage two things at a time and your efficiency in handling both of them.  All these soft skills eventually will come handy when you are working in the charity sector.

5 CV tips for getting into the charity sector
  1. Volunteering/Fundraiser Experience

Listing your volunteering endeavours is essential when applying for a job in the charity sector. Working in not-for-profits and in other charity organisations, showcases that you are actively trying to make a difference.

Believing in the fact that one person can make a difference to society is an important attitude to have while entering the charity sector. The fact that you have attempted to do some real volunteering activities reinforces the same belief.

  1. Show Creativity

Often, charities expect you to come up with innovative, never-thought-of ideas to raise funds. Or even conduct different activities so that people feel inspired to contribute to the good cause. It is extremely crucial for your CV to showcase some activities which accentuate your creative side. If you won any creative contests at school or have taken part in innovation challenges where you came up with a new solution, then don’t shy away from mentioning it in your CV.

Pro Tip: Be sure to mention as to what exactly you did in that competition/challenge. Mentioning what your creative idea/solution was, will clearly reflect your abilities to think outside the box.

5 CV tips for getting into the charity sector
  1. Exhibit Organisational Skills

Creativity leads to innovating activities which create awareness about a noble cause. But it is administrative and organisational skills that actually help in implementing the ideas that have developed. Disorganised events are time consuming, lead to a lot of chaos and are taxing. Showcasing that you have had some experience in organising events contributes to your overall employability.

For example, if you have been part of the organisation committee of a University Society, or have managed events in your office, then putting them into your CV is the ideal thing to do. Ensure that you mention the scale of the event that you organised and how exactly you contributed to the team.

  1. Flaunt Your Multilingual Skills

If you have put in efforts to learn a new language, then definitely mention this in your CV. Some charity jobs have international postings and if you happen to know the language of the other country, then you will automatically be preferred for the post. You are fluent in the foreign language, then that’s the icing on the cake as you will be able to convince the locals of the other countries to participate in the fundraising activities.

Stating the above mentioned skills in your CV, will definitely increase your chances of getting into the charity sector.

Along with this, it is also important for you to have an elegant CV which uses the right words and fonts. According to statistics, almost 60% of recruiters reject a candidate solely because of the bad format of their resume or bad grammar and spelling errors. Hence, along with stating the right skills, it is important to format your resume the right way.

Check out this link for advice on writing CV’s. Remeber to check out CharityJob to see what we have available.

Related article

CV Writing Tips: How to bring your charity CV to life

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Are you trying to change jobs within the charity sector, or even trying to break into it? It’s a sector with a great deal of competition so you’ll really need to really stand out to clinch that job. You can start by showing off your skills with your CV, so whether you want to update the CV you have or write a totally new one, use these tips to get the best out of it.

Do your research before you write

Before you write anything, take a look at the job and charity you want to apply to. Every charity is different, and they all various things from you in order to run smoothly. Look into their core values and culture and see where you can fit into them. You may even want to volunteer with a charity for some time before applying for a role to get a real feel for what they do. HR manager Kevin Styles says ‘It reflects well on any potential employee if they’ve shown that they’ve really dug deep into what makes a charity tick.’

Use grammar guides to help proofread

Once a CV has been written, it needs to be proofread (this is a step you can’t afford to skip). Recruiters see thousands of CVs every day and the last thing you want to do is be remember for all of the wrong reasons. HR manager Timothy Rogers says, ‘If they see a CV with any kind of error, they’ll bin it right away.’ To them, if you haven’t paid attention to the details in your CV, can they trust you to do it in the role they’re advertising?

To help you proofread, try using online grammar guides to spot where you’re making mistakes in your writing. Academized has an easy to use and highly helpful guide that’s worth reading. You can also use an online tool like Grammarly that will highlight your mistakes and teach you the correct way of writing.

Tailor your skills to the role

Read over the job description that’s on offer. Recruiters aren’t just looking for the skills that you’ve already mastered – they want to know that you have the skills to truly carry out the role they’re hiring for. You could be the best fundraiser in the world but you have to prove why you’re the perfect fit for their charity. Ask yourself, what have you achieved in the past that has helped your organisation? And how can this be translated into a fact that s beneficial for the recruiter.

Pick the skills you have that match most closely with what they’re asking for. Recruiters will see that you’ve paid attention to their needs and are much more likely to pick you for interview.

Write different CVs for each role you apply for

Professional resume writer Paul Glynn from EssayRoo says “Each CV needs to be unique to the role you’re applying for. That’s because each role is different, so a boilerplate CV sent out to everyone won’t do. Instead, tailor each CV to the role you’re applying for. If you create a template and change details, it’s not very difficult to do.”

Check you’re not overusing ‘buzz’ words

Do you rely too much on certain words? There may be certain words or phrases that are used in your industry but that doesn’t mean that they have to be sprawled  all over your CV too. Once you’ve written your CV, try using a word cloud program online to catch any words that you’ve over used and find a suitable replacement for them. Professional resume writer Yvonne Bates says ‘They’re great for giving you a clear view of what words you’re using all the time. If they’re buzz words or otherwise not useful to the recruiter, edit the CV and cut them out.’

Pay attention to your content

‘If you’ve worked in a previous field, remember that you’ll have to explain what your company did to new recruiters’ says HR manager Fiona Davies. It’s your job to make your past experience relevant to the role that you’re applying to now. Don’t leave recruiters guessing how or why your last two roles are relevant to the job – make it explicitly clear from the beginning and leave a lasting impression.

Keep these tips in mind and you’ll soon find that you’re receiving more invitations to interview.

Have we missed anything? Share your top CV tips with us by commenting below!

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